(Porch) Party Rockin Progress…

I almost titled this post “Incognito Burrito Style” but to keep things consistent from two days ago when we wrote about our front porch sneak preview , I restrained myself. What I didn’t restrain myself from is a super long post so feel free to grab a snack and stick around for the long haul :-)

I have to say…The front porch makeover reveal is going to be so fun! There are a handful projects to share (hence the lonnnnng post) that are coming together to make for a bright, new, fresh face on the front of our house. I’msoexcited! In the world of diy home design, is there anything better than super inexpensive (house) facelift? I think not.

Our adorable southern cottage wouldn’t be complete without a sweet sitting area for sipping on tea as the sun comes up and socializing with friends as the stars come out. We’ve been talking about making changes for awhile so we eased into things by first editing the amount of furniture we had. Here’s an idea of what we started with- 5 rocking chairs, a table, a hammock, a flamingo lamp, a string of prayer flags, a wrought iron palm tree, 5 or so wind chimes and a tiny rug. It was very dorm room meets clutter landscaping…in other words, dysfunctional and a bit tacky.

Not to be too dramatic, but it felt something like this…

But in reality, our mess was way less overwhelming, as you can see…

right left porch split

…cluttered but not so over- the-top. FYI, we don’t normally have as much stuff on the porch as in the pic on the left…this was a pile we cleared from the carport. We say it all the time though- a tiny house clutters quickly so what it looks like and what if feels like can be two very different things. Can anyone tell me why is it that every crazy porch/front lawn sneaks a flamingo in there?! At least ours lights up ;) Actually the glow is quite lovely…

flamingo

…if you can ignore my shoddy photoediting skills….<Cheesy smile> See?!

By downsizing the amount of chairs that stayed on the porch and in favor of more open space, we were able to add another super soft  hammock that I picked up in Nicaragua back in 2010. I think it cost me in the ballpark of 400 córdobas or just under $17.00…score! We love to get our lounge on and usually just share the one hammock but it would be a shame to keep the second one hidden away any longer.

Norm has acquired some serious hammock hanging skills after spending so much time on the islands, so he was able to secure it quickly to two beams which support the roof of the front porch, using 200 lb. nylon braided rope with a paper like core, threading the rope through the metal ring of the hammock then knotting them a few times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe definitely recommend that you choose your rope wisely and depending on how you’ll use it. We used what we had on hand and what we knew to be safe for our uses/what has lasted for 3+ years in our experience with Norm’s hammock (hanging on the other side of the porch). Ropes have a variety of cores, some can handle outdoor weather while others can’t and knowing the weight limit that they can bear is a must. Also, check the weight capacity of your hammock to ensure it can support you plus others, if you like a party hammock like we do! In Nicaragua, we were told that my hammock was a double…we didn’t exactly get a weight reading, so we have to use common sense and check our ropes from time to time and beware of wear and tear. As far as weather and leaving them outside, since ours are under a covered roof and Wilmington rarely sees snow, they are pretty protected and we will leave them out year-round.

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Of course, after securing everything in place, Norm tested the hammock with his weight (pulling on the knots from a standing position first, in case any rope slipped) to ensure that it would stay in place and that no knots would come loose and no one would unwittingly bruise their bum!

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Ahhh can’t you feel the relaxation?! As you can see, the hammock was grazing the porch with a Norm-sized lounger on it and since we sometimes share a lounge together, we definitely needed it higher. He adjusted the ropes to shorten them and I was finally given the all-clear to test it for my weight and swing-ability. Most companies recommend that you hang your hammocks at about four feet from ground level. Ours are hung even higher, mostly because of the deep curve we inherently have from hanging them in a narrow corner of our porch. Forrest loves a lazy hammock swing, too, so even he got in on the action. And, check out my Wolverine shadow hands! I’m all about the awkward family photo…

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It’s hard to tell from this angle but we do have a decent swing-range and my bum doesn’t graze the floor- even with Norm or Forrest joining me. It’s so nice after a hard days work to relax in a soft, airy hammock. There’s nothing else that is quite as soothing as a carefree swing in the breeze and I love the speckle-y filtered light that comes through when I fold the hammock over my head and go incognito burrito-style.

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The timing was perfect, too, since our porch makeover was just getting started and we would surely love to wrap up the day with a swing! While we were busy clearing the porch, hanging the hammock, sweeping and plotting out our next projects, Norm’s brother Steve was out on the lawn helping us out with another task. Since the two teak rocking chairs that we had were already in great shape, we kept them in place after a round of “conditioning”, with a Linseed oil wipe down. Steve simply wet a rag with the oil and gave the rockers an all over rub.

I did research about which oils would be the best for our outdoor teak furniture and was suprised to find a lot of conflicting/confusing and definitely opinionated reports. Some manufacturers and “teak care” websites suggest avoiding oiling altogether. It seems oiling is a gateway to higher maintenance, in the long run, as the oil evaporates and the weathered silvery gray patina will reappear. Also, mildew and mold can form on the furniture if it has not dried properly after oiling. To avoid the evaporating, it was suggested that the teak be scrubbed with soapy water and possibly sealed with a teak specific sealer/teak oil- which runs in the $30 range and leaves the teak with a natural honey color. We were really hoping for a deeper, stained look so we decided to lean towards oiling, anyway. In the end, we actually used Linseed oil to “condition” the teak. Oops. As it turns out, we pretty much chose teak’s natural nemesis as our agent. Though I researched, it seems that we still took a wrong turn that might cost us extra work in the future. Although right now…

We are really happy about the deep espresso finish of the “conditioned” chair. I hesitate to call the new finish conditioned since we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we didn’t do more harm than good. I’m hoping that when the linseed oil evaporates, we can sand the teak down a bit and seal it properly after scrubbing or stain it permanently. Eek! Our bad… Sometimes you have to take a wrong turn before you take a right one, I suppose. Our makeover is all about bringing a crisp, clean, comfy vibe into one of our favorite outdoor spaces and our like-new chairs helped us do just that. We can live with our decision for the time being, now that we’re wiser…

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Although we picked the wrong oil, we think the difference is remarkable. We did allow the rockers to sit out on the porch in warm, low humidity weather for about a week before using them. They were dry to the touch by then and retained the same rich color as in the photo. We’ll be sure to post an update when they are ready for attention again, whether it be due to evaporating, mildewing, patina reappearing or any other suprises we might encounter!

We’ll also be back in a day or so to talk more about our new entrance (and biting off more than we expected to chew), Fall-O-Weening and keeping it painty! Which fall projects are on your 2012 list? Do you have any porch party rockin projects happening? Have you ever used the wrong products on a furniture piece before? Is there anyone out there who can walk us into the light about teak maintenance? Let us know!

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